Thursday, April 13, 2006

Prostitution Ring Uncovered in LA's Koreatown


In an area of Los Angeles best known for great barbecue restaurants, boba tea cafes and eclectic shopping, a prositution ring was uncovered last month in the neighborhood of Koreatown.

The Korean news website Chosun Ilbo reports:
The police have discovered an organized crime ring that brokered deals between Korean women in their twenties and red-light establishments in the U.S. where they worked as prostitutes. Two suspects being identified as Lee (35) and Park (44), have been detained after an investigation that implicated them for helping some 30 Korean women fraudulently obtain U.S. visas since 2004, and acting as go-betweens setting up deals with shady establishments in Los Angeles.

Police are also searching for a man identified as by his last name of Ma (35), under suspicion that he, as an owner of one such establishment, put such women to work as prostitutes after receiving introductions from Park and Lee. Some 30 women were are being investigated without detention.

According to the police, Lee posted ads that read ‘We offer high-paying jobs in the U.S.’ on the Internet with the intention to send women to the U.S. as prostitutes, and handed over 30 women to Park getting a commission of 5 million won (US$5,000) per head from Park. Park is under suspicion for helping the women obtain passports and visas with all sorts of fabricated documents and later sending them to Ma's establishment, receiving commission of 20 million won per head from Ma.

According to the police, the majority of the women uncovered in the investigation went to the U.S. voluntarily and Park offered them fake documents to help them obtain visas or smuggled them into the U.S. via Canada. Some of the women used to work in domestic bars and nightclubs and a few are credit delinquents, the police said

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